Sharpening info. Just a tip.....

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Forum topic by Bill White posted 11-16-2011 09:25 PM 1198 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bill White

4949 posts in 3987 days

11-16-2011 09:25 PM

Though not related directly to woodworking, I do a lot of knife sharpening for a local kitchen specialty shop that sells high-end knives, etc. You can’t believe the condtion of some of the expensive knives I get, and am expected to rehab.
I consider knife sharpening the same art as plane/jointer knife treatment, and certainly wouldn’t put my plane irons or jointer knives in the dishwasher.
My point is:
Knives are tools as are any items with a needed edge in the woodshop. Treat ‘em as such, and use a cutting board. Some of these folks seem to cut stuff on a concrete block. YUCK!


13 replies so far

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3588 days

#1 posted 11-16-2011 09:28 PM

Bill – had no idea.

Curious as to how a dishwasher is harmful to a knife, assuming that it is placed so that it only is touched by the water.

-- Joe

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3675 days

#2 posted 11-16-2011 09:31 PM

I can’t even imagine doing that.

good knives usually get this treatment (to some this may sound anal, but the knives are kept at top shape):

1. use knife
2. once usage is complete, hand clean knife with sponge and soap under running water (5-10 seconds)
3. dry knife immediately to keep flash rust from sneaking up (5 seconds)
4. store clean knife away

the only thing I need to get under the belt is rehoning the knives every once in a while – I need to master getting the correct angle between knife edge and honing bar. any tips?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4949 posts in 3987 days

#3 posted 11-16-2011 09:35 PM

Most homeowners just cram ‘em all together in the ‘washer. Beats the edges all to he!! and back. The high end brands and japanese layered steel knives just don’t like the caustic chems of dishwasher compounds. I know that I sound like a purist, but tools is tools.
Just my opinion.


View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3037 days

#4 posted 11-16-2011 09:47 PM

Guilty as charged. Though none of our knives are worth better treatment anyways…

But as soon as we invest in better knives, this is great advice!

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4949 posts in 3987 days

#5 posted 11-16-2011 10:44 PM

I usually hone/strop using a ceramic water stone and a leather strop with green compound. Angle? Don’t know ‘cause I just have a feel for the edge at the final stage. The stropping is just to remove any burr (micro) that might remain.
I use a Makita horizontal wet wheel system. Coarse wheel (not the green wheel for carbide) and fine wheel for edge.
Some blades respond well without the stropping.
If the edge will slice well at an extreme low angle (I test on very thin paper), it will cut foodstuffs very well. The fingernail test too. If the edge will “hang” on the nail….....


View StumpyNubs's profile


7604 posts in 2827 days

#6 posted 11-16-2011 10:55 PM

I’ve lost plenty of “tips” from sharp knives! I’m healing a chisel injury right now. At least this time I didn’t have to do my own stitches!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View MrRon's profile


4795 posts in 3270 days

#7 posted 11-17-2011 11:40 PM

Dishwashers ruin the handles of kitchen knives. All my kinves are kept sharp. They are not the most expensive knives around. I prefer plain carbon steel knives, Chicago brand. The first thing I do before using one is to give it a few strokes on a diamond plate; not too many strokes,as diamond cuts very fast. This is done every time before use. Many people think a razor sharp edge is necessary. Razor edges are too fragile and dull quickly. When cutting, always use a wood or plastic surface. Glass surfaces will dull a blade, 1-2-3. The trick is in the “slicing” motion, using the entire length of the blade. Most people press down with little sawing motion. This is not slicing. My wife tells me our knives are too sharp and she gets cut. A dull knife will give you a much worse injury than a sharp one. It has taken me a long time to master the use of knives, now that I am retired and spend more time in the kitchen. I also used to have a knife and tool sharpening business. Here is a tip of mine; always try to keep the initial bevels the blade came with. People will ruin a knife by trying to sharpen it to a razor edge. Trying to do so, destroys the bevel.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3142 days

#8 posted 11-18-2011 12:11 AM

never do the dishwasher to my knifes ….. but try´d more than once to tell the wife
not to do it both becourse it destroyd the handles and makes the knifes dull very quickly
she even toss them with all other in the dish….......hmmmf ….............
3 month later I had my own sharp set after a big fight over them ….
and hers is very dull with lots of chips in the blades
after twelwe years I still can´t convince her they are tools and have to be treated like that

but thanks for the tip anyway :-)


View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2867 days

#9 posted 11-18-2011 01:43 AM

I don’t own a dishwasher. I have 2 teenage girls that give the dishes and knives the personal touch. So i guess I am raising 2 dishwashers. And I treat my kitchen knives the same as my chisels. The good ones have there own storage unit hanging on the wall. But thanks for the tip. And to me my first thought would be the high temperatures on the handles. I did not know the chemicals in the soap is that caustic. Thanks again

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3739 days

#10 posted 11-19-2011 07:38 AM

We’re not supposed to put our chisels and planes in the dishwasher…? LOL!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3142 days

#11 posted 11-19-2011 10:34 AM

hmmm Mark I don´t have any experience with that
can you tell us if thats a god idea ….. :-)))))

View Sylvain's profile


708 posts in 2526 days

#12 posted 11-19-2011 10:52 PM

Hi everybody,

When sharpening a knife you create micro saw teeth. The size of the teeth is depending on what you use to sharpen.

You may want to have smaller or bigger teeth depending on what you want to SLICE, like you would have different TPI for a saw.

Bread knives have usually very big visible teeth. The effectiveness depends of the structure of the bread to be cut. I use 3 differnt knives depending on what type of bread I have to cut.

Now the funny part :
I have found on a knife-forum that you can sharpen a knife on the bottom of a thee (or coffee) cup.
This is what we can call a cheap ceramic stone, isn’t it.

One guy on this forum admitted that its largest ceramic stone was the bottom of a large rectangular ceramic gratin dish.

Well, I have tried the “cup bottom” method with my favourite (cheap) meat knife since about one year. Just a few strokes on each side before use.

It is amazingly good. I can slice a roastbeef with no pressure, just guiding the knife with two fingers.

By slicing I mean making a movement like sawing.

Does anybody tried the bottom of a dish to sharpen a plane blade or a chisel?

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3142 days

#13 posted 11-20-2011 12:15 AM

thank´s for the tip …. can be usefull in the feild .. have forgotten the sharpening/honning stone :-)

here is another for rugh work if you realy need to sharpen badly …. but only as an emergency situation
becourse you will get a good execite out of it when returning to your sharpeningstation
use any stone you can find even a flat concrete stone can be used
but do it only to cheap knifes :-)


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